tv KQED Newsroom PBS April 3, 2016 5:00pm-5:31pm PDT
hello, and welcome to "kqed newsroom." i'm scott shafer in for thuy vu. our editors' pick of bay area music, arts, and theatre for april. plus, is the drought over? paul rogers will join us for an update on the sierra snow pack and what it means for water conservation. also, kqed investigates the death of two mentally ill inmates at the santa clara county jail. but before we get to that, another first for the nation in california. governor jerry brown is scheduled to travel to los angeles monday when he'll sign legislation raising california's minimum wage to $15 an hour by the year 2022. i asked ken jacobson, chair of
the uc berkley labor center how significant is the passage of this wage hike? >> this is a very big deal. when it's all phased in, we estimate 5.6 million californians will receive wage increases as a result of the law, and on average, a 24% increase in their earnings. $3,700 a year. it's a big deal. >> who are these five to six million workers? what's the profile? >> they're breadwinners. 96% are over the age of 20. 37% have children. 55% are latino. on average, they bring home about half their family's income. >> years ago, people were earning minimum wage tended to be kids flipping burgers. that's not the case anymore. >> the profile of low-wage workers in california has really changed over the years. nearly half of low-wage workers have at least some college education, and that's a real change from whatcritics say thi
job-killer. what does the data show on this? >> there's lots of good research on the impacts of minimum wage laws, and what we've seen is minimum wage laws in the united states, no really measurable effect on employment. on the one hand, there is a decline in employee turn over. there's improvements in employee productivity. some automation, that saves employers some money. the rest has really passed through into slightly higher passes. in los angeles, we estimated 1% over the whole time of the phase-in. that depresses demand a little bit. but you've got money in workers' pockets and they're spending that money and that increases demand. in the end, it all washes out in terms of the economy, so you see the effects on economy and overall economy are very small. >> that was ken jacobs with the uc berkley labor center. turn now to santa clara's jail system. the fbi is investigating the deaths of two inmates, michael tyree and walter roches, died within a month of each other last year. both suffering from serious
mental illness. and inmate advocates say neither received the treatment they needed. this week, kqed began a series of reports on the extent of mental illness in county jails throughout california. here now to tell us about their investigation are kqed reporters julie small and lisa pickoff white. welcome. >> thank you. >> let me begin with you, julie. what made you decide to investigate this particular aspect of jails? >> both lisa and i have reported on prisons and following the struggle of prisons in california to accommodate mentally ill inmates, and some of the changes that have occurred there to prevent the prisons from -- the overuse of force against mentally ill inmates, overuse of isolation. a number of restrictions placed on the prison's jail. not yet. and we knew they would be receiving -- they would be having larger populations in the coming years. >> yeah, and we'll get into the reasons for that in a second.
but lisa, you had to get a lot of data, because it isn't readily available. talk about the obstacles of pulling together an investigation like this. >> yeah, we really began part of this looking to answer that question, how many mentally ill inmates are in this system? the answer is no one really knows the full extent of this problem. what we did do, though, is the board of state and community corrections, who regulates jails, does do a monthly and a quarterly survey, then tracks, including mental inmates that are receiving mental health treatments, and inmates on psychotropic drugs. counties didn't fill in that survey about a quarter of the time during the last five years. so we know some things, but not as much as we want. advocates also say that a lot of mentally ill inmates are not properly screened, so they're not counted in those numbers. however, from what we do know, since realignment, about 40% more innovates are receiving treatment, and almost 43% more are receiving medication. >> and we should just say, and julie alluded to it, realignment
is that state policy that more low level inmates are going into these county jails who had been going to prison, and so this problem is now accumulating. and the state prisons had been the subject of a lot of lawsuits over the years. is that problem now being inherited by the counties? >> i would say definitely it is. and we're seeing the same problems, and that's part of why we wanted to do the report. when you hear that an inmate was beaten to death in a jail, and the prosecutors in the case who are pressing murder charges against three deputies said that they believe that those deputies beat michael tyree up because he refused to take medication. you hear something like that, you see the same problem recurring in jails that had happened in prison. it's very alarming. >> here in the bay area, this problem came to light because of these two deaths of michael tyree and walter roches in santa clara county. to what extent do you think this is a problem state-wide? i guess that's what you're trying to find out.
>> we've been doing our own research as well, and it's -- there are many counties already either in talks, in being sued, or in settlement talks with innovate advocates because they've had similar problems. the common problem is the overuse of force. also extensive isolation of mentally ill inmates, and we're seeing that all over the state. >> so when somebody comes into a county jail, what are some of the obstacles that the system faces and also the prisoner phase in term of getting the treatment that they need? what's the situation when they arrive? >> yeah. actually, the problem starts almost immediately. when inmates are booked, they're screened. they can be screened by correctional officers, or nurses in a best case scenario. that's often when mental illness is first flagged for the system. now, even if i was prescribed a medication, if i went into a jail, they might just take me off of that immediately. so i would need a nurse or a correctional officer to contact
a psychiatrist to put me back on that medication that i've already been prescribed. >> right away, there's a delay. >> exactly. and if your medications or needs aren't caught during that screening process, it can take a long -- you have to talk to a correctional officer, file a complaint, and then you might see a doctor. and actually, one of the biggest problems that counties are facing is a lack of psychiatry staff. for instance, there is only the equivalent of one and a half psychiatrists on staff when both walter roches and michael tyree were in the system. >> and the medical examiner in santa clara county found that walter roches died of untreated mental illness. what does that mean? why does that cause death? >> in his case, walter roches suffered from schizophrenia and he had entered into a manic state because he was not on med kagt -- medication. the jail says he refused to take the medication and had
deteriorated. but in that manic state, it puts a lot of pressure on the body. the heart rate increases. the blood pressure increases. and then you add to that that he was forcibly removed from his cell subject to tear gas, shot with plastic bullets, and physically removed from his cell. the coroner said that would have only accelerated those systems and added to the stress on the body. there's only so much you can take, and then -- >> even if you don't have mental illne illness. >> right. >> i would think that would be very troubling. lisa, what is being done, if anything, at this point to improve the kind of treatment, the mental health treatment that inmates get in jails, or are we still very much at the beginning of this? >> the state regulatory system, the board of state and community corrections has called together a committee looking to revise the law in california that regulates how these jails are run. however, each county runs their own jail very differently. some counties, for instance, san francisco are really trying to
screen people with mental illness issues before they even reach the jail. other counties are looking at that as well. and we're looking for those kinds of solutions as we continue reporting. >> and just quickly, i know we just heard the very first of your reports this week. what should we look forward to, what are you going to be digging into in the come weeks and months? >> we're definitely going to be looking at the issue of medication and whether inmates are getting it or not getting it. whether they're getting too much of it. we'll be looking at suicides and death in the jails to see if we can find how many of those are related to mental illness. and as lisa said, we'll be looking for solutions, too. >> all right. really, really important issues. thanks so much for digging into them for us. julie small, lisa pickoff-white, thank you very much. >> thank you. with democrat barbara boxer retiring, californians will elect a new u.s. senator for the first time in 24 years. polls for the june primary show two democrats, attorney general
camala harris, and loretta sanchez running first and second. i caught up with sanchez recently and asked her what she hopes to bring to the job of u.s. senator. congresswoman sanchez, why are you the most qualified best person to be the next u.s. senator? >> there are three reasons really that i will be the next united states senator for california. first, my life experiences. i believe that my family and i have lived the life of so many californians. my parents came here with no money and no education. they had seven children. they educated us, they sacrificed for us. my mom and dad are the only parents in the history of the united states to send two daughters to the united states congress. i think that's a life story of the aspirations of what
californians want. secondly, i have 20 years experience in the united states house of representatives, doing the issues, knowing the people, taking the very tough votes when the pressure is on, like voting against the iraq war when everybody was so quick to go in. against the patriot act, when it took away our civil liberties. and third, i have 20 years of experience on military, homeland security, knowing the international players. none of the candidates in this election have the experiences i have. >> you say your family experience. so many things that other californians have gone through. what do you mean by that? >> for example, in the recession. this past recession that we had. my brothers, they had a very thriving business. it went under, and they lost
their homes. so what people have experienced in california, our family has experienced in california. my dad, he has alzheimer's. now for 20 years. every family is going to be hit with that. >> you said it's time for a latina in the u.s. senate. why is that so important? >> i think it's time for this latina in the united states senate. this latina, by congressional quarterly was named as one of the 25 most powerful women in the congress. republican or democrat, house member or senator. and they said two things about me. one, she knows how to frame the issues and debate and bring people to the table, and two, she knows how to find the votes to pass laws. and so i think we need this latina in the united states senate. >> you made some remarks recently about muslim americans that were very controversial. what was the point you were
trying to make? >> you're looking at the person who sat for 20 years on the armed services committee, on the homeland security committee since its inception. one of the areas of my expertise is counterterrorism, and so when i said that there were a group of muslims worldwide, who are in favor of a caliphate, and some of them are sympathetic. i was talking about the need to get our american muslim community to help us, to figure out this whole issue of isis, and this radicalization that we see happening, even sometimes here in the united states, like with the san bernardino shooters. so it's really incumbent on us to work with our muslim american community. that was suggestive of the comments i made during that time. and, of course, everybody knows if they look at my record,
there's been nobody stronger on issues fighting for the muslim-american community than me. second to none. >> so what makes you tick? what makes you you? >> well, family makes me me. there's nothing more important to me than my family. i can love the out-of-doors. i'm an outdoors woman. i've probably been the only one that's cycled up and down all of california and seen every inch of its beauty, even up the white mountains, for example. and one of the great things about this senate race is that it has allowed me to go around california and reconnect with people, beautiful people. and californians are -- californians believe. they're like the 49ers. we're going to make it happen. and i love that. i'm a people person. i love people. >> thank you so much. >> thank you.
music, theatre, a captivating discovery, and more, the bay area is offering a host of unique performances and exhibits that are beginning on right now and in the weeks ahead. kqed's senior arts editor chloe veltman has been checking out the highlights. hi, chloe. >> hello, scott. >> let's begin in san francisco at z space. there's a comedy happening there that has an unusual inspiration, i think you might say. >> that's right. this is a new comedy, a surreal new comedy by a great local playwright, and it's called "house tour of the infamous porter family mansion." it's inspired by those tours that people take of places like hurst castle. >> tacky tour. >> you could say that in a way. it's about other things. and really, this very immersive experience. so the audience gets to travel through this mansion. it's being built within the confines of z space.
you get to go down these corridors and go down through these spaces, and you're led by this wonderful local actor danny shea, who is playing the role of the tour guide. and really, the show is about other things when touring a house. >> so you're literally walking through this house, which is the set? >> exactly. exactly. and you go into different weird rooms. >> do you get to ask questions like you would on a regular tour? >> well, he asks questions of the audience. and you kind of find out quite a lot about him and his life. and you should the veneer of comedy, and what i love is this immersive quality it has to it. it's a bit like the show "sleep no more," for example, on broadway that's been doing so well. >> one other event happening at z space, and it's kind of a quirky puppet show. >> that's right. it's called "bird heart." it's happening next week at z space. it's been created by julian crouch, this master puppeteer, tony award nominated, and he's joined by -- some people know as
a great rock performer. and she's collaborated with jay-z and beyonce. they're creating table top theatre and making puppets out of ordinary objects, and brown paper and fans and things. >> kind of creepy scary. >> it's a little creepy, but it's beautiful. >> okay, good. well, from quirky, scary, beautiful puppets, to tattoos down in the south bay. tell us about -- it's an exhibit of female women with tattoos. >> female women, that's right. fa californian, female women to be precise. this is an exhibition called tattooed and tenacious: inked women, and it takes place at history park. this is a small, but fantastic exhibition that delves into the history of the tattoo arts and people that wore the tattoos, the people that created the tattoos, all of them women in this state. >> we're not talking about millennials. we're talking about, as we saw
from those photos a moment ago, going back a century. >> even further. there's some wonderful images, and other artifacts to do with native american women who wore the tattoos. there's also some stuff about the victorian ladies who wore tattoos. like amy crocker. i had no idea that these upper class railroad heiresses had tattoos. she had a huge snake on her. >> were they all hidden, i assume? >> yes, under those high collars, yes. >> what kind of emotion does it evoke? people have opinions and feelings about tattoos today. when you're looking at these from so many years ago, what does it bring up? >> for me personally, it brought up wonder. i had no idea about the history of tattoos. i think tattoo art is quite a male-dominated business. so to see it through this more feminist perspective, it was really interesting. >> are you a tattoo -- do you have tattoos? >> actually, i don't. you know what i'd get? >> i'm not going to guess. you tell me. >> i would get an obo, which is
the instrument that i play. >> oh, okay. you could put that on your arms easily? >> or elsewhere. >> okay. moving right along. so back to san francisco, ft. mason. there is something called "when we were small," which i assume is not a reference to steve martin's old skit "let's get small." >> no. nothing to do. this is a circus dance show all about early childhood. none of us remember what it's like to be 2 years old. but the artistic director of this company capascitor makes shows about science. she's making a show this time which is all about what it's like to be a little kid. so you see the world through a child's eyes. so here we see like these huge, beautiful physical shapes, these aerialists, dancers performing, creating weird and wonderful kind of impressions of what it's like to be little. >> yes. and it's a circus arts company,
i understand. >> yeah, it is. they use aerialists in this show, as well as contemporary dances and contortionists, too. >> okay. and one last thing you want to talk about, and it has to do with early music. and by early, we mean really early, a few centuries ago. >> yeah, renaissance times, medieval times. berkley is a huge center for this kind of music. on the west coast, it's pretty much the main one. on the east coast, you have boston and so on. and we have a really wonderful british group that's coming through called stile antico. should we take a listen? >> sure. ♪ >> so this is a wonderful group that comes from london, and they're going to be performing at the first congregational church this weekend. they're really young and hip. >> we marked this week the opening of flax, the art supply store in oakland. the closing of the store here on market street broke my heart, but i guess just another reas to go to oakland.
>> definitely. it's a way people over there can get their good art supplies now. >> all right. great. thanks very much, chloe veltman, kqed senior arts editor. you can find a lot more online, kqed.com/arts. thanks a lot. >> my pleasure, scott. state water officials trekked up to the sierras for this year's most important snow pack measurement. there were hopes all those march storms would fix california's water problems, but while there was plenty of improvement over last year, the snow pack was still just below average. so what does that mean for you and me? well, joining me now is san jose mercury news environment writer and managing editor for kqed science, paul rogers. paul, first of all, give us a sense, how do things compare this year from a year ago? >> they are a lot better. this winter has been the best winter in five years for rain and snow in california. snow pack reading that was taken a couple of days ago showed 87% of the historic average.
this time last year, we were at 5%. >> this is the same place where governor brown was last year. >> many feet of snow up there now. also, rainfall in the bay area, in most cities including san francisco, about 100% of normal. we're seeing the biggest -- the two biggest reservoirs in the state, shasta and orville, which together hold enough water for 24 million people. about 90% full right now. they were 25% full in december. so there's a lot of water out there. and it's good news. >> and that's incredible about the reservoir. we saw all those photographs where you could see almost like it was the ring on the bathtub. >> yes. the bathtub rings are gone. >> good. so glass half full, half empty? it's not a complete solution to our problems, right? i mean, is the drought over, that's the question everybody was asking. >> that's always the big question. it depends where you live. i would argue in some places, the drought is over. in places like marin county, all seven reservoirs, the marin
municipal water district operates are 100% full. they can't store any more water. it is impossible, i believe, to make a case that we're in a drought emergency that you have so much water you can't store it. what happened with these el nino storms is they didn't hit the state evenly. usually, southern california gets wet, the pacific northwest is dry. and what happened was the storms went mostly north. they erased the drought in washington and oregon. they really took the hard edges off in northern california. but l.a. has only had 50% of normal rainfall. so they're still in -- i would say a serious drought, while the north is in almost no drought. >> and isn't that better than the reverse? >> absolutely. a lot of the water comes from us down to them. >> yeah. >> so we asked some of our viewers to put questions on facebook. one we got was from mike massey, who wrote to us and asked, why are green lawns still legal in california? >> well, there's a couple reasons. when it rains, grass grows, and
so all over the bay area right now, lawns are green. and people have not expended any water to make them green. it fell out of the sky. now, i think more seriously the question is, should we allow people to irrigate grass in the summer? lawns use 50% of urban water in california, so when we've been in an emergency like we have the last few years, cities have required cutbacks, and a lot of those cutbacks you can only water grass one or two days a week, remain in effect. but there's a key date coming up. on may 3rd, the state water resources control board is going to decide whether to keep in place or soften or eliminate the mandatory targets, water conservation targets that they have put on all 400 cities and water providers in california. felicia marcus, the chair of that board, has told me they are likely to ease them, and probably regionalize them. and so what that means is northern california cities are going to see softer, or in some cases no mandatory percentages that they have to hit, like they
have in the past. southern california is likely to see many of them kept in place. >> so these fines that we've had up here in the bay area, those could go away? >> correct. so for example, i'll just pick a city, like san jose, there's a 20% mandatory reduction on water use that came from the state, which is compared to 2013 levels. have to cut by 20%. i'm just making this up, but that could be cut by the state to perhaps 10%. >> what about agriculture, they use most of the water in southern california and we did have a lot of questions about that on our facebook page as well. what is the impact on them? >> farms in california use 80% of the water that people use in the state. they actually have had to use ground water, and we've heard about the overpumping of ground water to stay in business in the central valley, because we haven't had reservoir storage until right now that has allowed water to be transferred to them. interestingly, what happened on friday, the federal government put out the first allocations
for the central valley project, and basically, cities which got 25% of their contracted amounts last year are getting 55%. a lot of farmers are getting 100. but the farmers in central valley are going to get only 5% in some places, so they'll still be in a crisis. >> will some of that ground water be replenished because of all the rain? >> no, unfortunately not. it got a decent amount of rain. but the southern central valley, bakersfield, fresno and on south, did not get much rain. the reservoir levels are low. they've overpumped so badly, it's going to take decades to replace the water. >> so the rainy season is not quite over, but we're probably not going to get a lot more. >> it looks like in about ten days, there's another storm system. it's a good year. the drought has softened. but in some places in the state, it remain. >> paul rogers, managing editor of kqed science. thanks very much. that is our show for tonight. i'm scott shafer. thanks for joining us.
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